Australian warships heading to Korean peninsula amid rising military tensions

Australian warships heading to Korean peninsula amid rising military tensions

Australian warships heading to Korean peninsula amid rising military tensions

Updated 5 October 2017, 0:30 AEDT

Later this month Australian military personnel will get a closer look at South Korea's military preparations when the ROK Navy hosts the Royal Australian Navy.

At the Republic of Korea's Navy Second Fleet headquarters the warships are on constant alert for attack from the North.

"We are ready to fight and if we fight we will win," declares Han Woong Song, a young Korean Lieutenant.

Second Fleet warships, based at Pyeontaek on the west coast, have faced several attacks from North Korea over the past two decades, resulting in a loss of life on both sides.

"We have lots of incidents after the Korean War. We have more than five incidents and even now incidents might happen," Lieutenant Han said.

The Pyongtaek Naval Base has just hosted the annual Armed Forces Day parade, commemorating the moment 69 years ago when the South broke through the 38th parallel border during the war against the invading North.

Here South Korea has for the first time publicly displayed its new Hyunmoo-2C ballistic missile — a weapon boasting a range of 800 kilometres.

Later this month Australian military personnel will get a closer look at South Korea's military preparations when the ROK Navy hosts the Royal Australian Navy.

HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Parramatta are scheduled to make port visits as part of week long military exercises known as "Haedoli Wallaby".

In August Australian personnel took part in joint US-Korean military exercises, and soon Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne will head to Seoul for 2 + 2 meetings with their South Korean counterparts.

Doctor Euan Graham from the Lowy Institute believes it is crucial Australia forge a closer security relationship with South Korea.

"Australia has been trying to energise the bilateral security relationship for some time. The visit of the Frigates and the exercise with the South Korean should be seen in that light."

"Prime Minister Turnbull recently pledged to invoke the ANZUS treaty if North Korea attacked the United States and Australia may be one of the first to be asked to contribute forces on some level if the current tensions with North Korea significantly worsen."

Andrew Greene travelled to South Korea as a guest of the Korea Press Foundation, as part of a journalist exchange organised by the Walkley Foundation and supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.